Mental health within the UK is becoming ever clearer with celebrities and even the Royal family creating campaigns to raise awareness over the stigma towards mental health. The cause of a person’s mental health issues may be unrelated to work or their job role, however within the working population employees suffering from a mental health issue is a big cause of sickness absence from work.
As a small business, frequent employee absences from work can cause issues for the business. Understanding how to deal with employees who are suffering from mental health illnesses is key to ensuring business success and achieving a happier workforce.
Recognise Any Signs of Potential Mental Health Issues
Mental health charity Mind suggested that employees feel as though they can’t talk about their mental health issues within the workplace and almost three-quarters of people said that they would not seek support from their manager. This could create challenges for employers to help employees suffering from mental health issues therefore looking out for any potential signs may be the only way of helping them.
If you have worked alongside someone for a while you get to know their usual traits and what they are like as a person. One way to spot that an employee may be suffering from mental health issues is that they are acting differently and their usual behaviour isn’t the same.
Maybe they’ve drastically changed their eating habits and their weight has changed massively in a short space of time. They could suddenly have become a total recluse in their social life or maybe show signs of suddenly going out socialising a little too often (in comparison to how they were before the change).
Things like this are a tell tale sign that something may be wrong, therefore using this information as a benchmark gives you a reason to assess whether you think this issue is something that you as a boss could help with.
Take Control Within the Workplace
Mental health is something you can’t control, however by making a few changes around the office can certainly help a little bit. Take a look at the individual’s workload, by communicating with your employee on how they feel about the workload will allow you to make any changes necessary.
Too much work can be extremely stressful and can cause a numerous amount of issues inside and outside work. However, too little work can make an employee feel like they aren’t good enough or trusted with more work. Communication between manager and employee is key to finding out what you can do improve their well-being.
And, remember, no two mental health cases are exactly the same. What’s right for one person may not be right for another.
Create a Good Atmosphere Within the Workplace
As a manager making sure all of your employees are happy to come to work is classed as a great success. Creating an open culture within the workplace can make employees feel comfortable talking to other colleagues about their lives and other aspects inside and outside work.
For an employee suffering from mental health issues, feeling close to their work colleagues could give them the courage to speak out and possibly share with the odd person what they are going through.
Also, having colleagues who are close allows more people to notice if something is different with another employee. Having an awareness like this could result in possibly making the employee who is dealing with mental health issues work life a little bit easier. However with mental health the problem will not go away in a heartbeat that’s if it ever goes away at all. It’s vital to show patience.
Promote Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace
As a manager you set up how you want your employees to work but you also have to set a good example to ensure employees stay healthy and able to work. By encouraging employees to take regular breaks throughout the day, you will improve their workflow and wellbeing within the office.
Another way to promote well being is to ensure employees take a well earned holiday each year, therefore taking some time away from the office will allow them to rest and feel fully recharged when they come back to work.
Alongside the obvious of taking breaks and holidays a good manager will also set up programmes to raise the awareness of services the company can offer its employees such as information regarding mental health and also support groups to help anyone who may be feeling any affects of work or even everyday life. By offering a hand to any employee who seems to be struggling can really help. Charities like Samaritans offer training for companies across the UK with how to listen and support vulnerable people.
The key to dealing with any employee who may be suffering with mental health issues is confidentiality. People who do suffer from mental health tend not to open up about it to many people, if any, therefore if an employee does turn to your for help make sure anything discussed is kept private unless both agree there is need for further co-operation off trained professionals.
In a business, understanding and acknowledging mental illness within employees can be difficult if you don’t really understand it, but mental health is being looked into properly by charities and organisations and it is becoming a much more talked about subject. People aren’t ashamed to address the issue anymore. Businesses should also take this approach to mental health as it affects 1 in 4 people within the UK, but everyone suffers with something whether that being stress or anxiety.
Overall mental health isn’t an illness like a cold and it simply can’t just go away. People who suffer from mental health are having a constant battle with themselves and seeking help can be challenging therefore creating an open atmosphere within the workplace and offering help and support to employees is a step in the right direction.
Looking After Employees can Result in a Productive Workforce
Employees need to come to work feeling happy they can’t do that if there workplace doesn’t put any input into improving employee wellbeing.